Motorists should be aware during spring break

Motorists are reminded to pay close attention to their surroundings when driving through areas where kids could be playing

With spring break underway in the North Okanagan, motorists are reminded to pay close attention to their surroundings when driving through areas where kids could be playing.

To highlight the increased presence of kids outdoors, BCAA is offering free “Slow Down, Kids Playing” signs that can be displayed on residential properties in order to help make roads safer for children across the province.

According to the B.C. Coroners Service, over 2,400 child pedestrians are seriously injured and about 30 are killed each year in Canada.

Kids between five and 14 are at the greatest risk for pedestrian-related injuries and fatalities.

“As the weather warms up, more and more children venture outside to play in their front yards, on their streets and in neighbourhood playgrounds,” said Mark Donnelly, director of BCAA communication and community.

“The ‘Slow Down, Kids Playing’ signs are a way of reminding drivers to pay close attention when driving through residential areas and near playgrounds and to expect the unexpected.”

In its efforts to improve road safety efforts, BCAA has identified two key areas of risk for child pedestrians: driver behavior – such as speeding, making U-turns, stopping in no-stopping zones, and rolling through or backing up into crosswalks – and pedestrian distraction, which include the use of cell phones and other personal electronic devices.

A study conducted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham reports that children who talk on cell phones while crossing the street are up to one-third more likely to be hit or nearly hit by a car.